freer by the moment, but something is lost in transmission

Posted: February 27, 2013 in Uncategorized

“We don’t watch television,” she shared.  “It’s a decision we’ve made as a family.” 

The outside of me was polite, smiling, apparently interested in hearing more.

The inside of me was judging the snot out of her.  I was thinking how her poor family was totally unplugged from the culture.  How they were missing out on the conversations that everyone has about whatever the latest big rage in TV is.  How boring and unenriched their lives must be. 

But that was years ago, back when I was a severe TV junkie.

I thought of that today at lunch, at work.  The others at the table were discussing politics, as were the people at the next table, and I had mentally removed myself completely from the room, having cheerfully decided to just occupy myself with things that matter to me (politics being decidedly NOT on that list.)  Suddenly, I realized my coworker was asking MY opinion on the matter at hand.  I tried to be as lighthearted as I felt, dismissing the subject without wanting to pick a fight.  Still, somehow in the ensuing conversation, it came out:  I don’t own a television.

Man, life comes a long, strange way.

I notice this:  as I give up things, for the sake of discipline or mental health or following my convictions or whatever, what happens next goes like this:

1.  I find a new level of freedom or healing or insight that astonishes me.

2.  Though I have been judgmental WHILE using/possessing whatever it was that I had (and the judgment was against those who didn’t use/possess it)…as I give it up, the thing that leaves with it is:  that judgment.  I have no need for others to follow my suit.  Keep it.  Enjoy it.  I couldn’t possibly be less interested in judging you for it.

3.  People find out what I’ve given up and they feel judged by that. 

OY.

I don’t have a TV.  I don’t judge anyone for having TV.  I notice people feeling judged by my my absence of having a TV.

I don’t drink.  I don’t judge others who do.  Others feel judged by my not drinking.

I don’t drive, if biking is a reasonable alternative for me.  I don’t judge others who drive.  Others feel judged about their lack of biking – that’s easy to read in the long list of reasons I am so often given for why they can’t bike.

I live celibate.  I don’t have a need to judge others who don’t.  Others feel judged by it anyway.

On and on…I write you more examples, but it’s past my bedtime and I trust you see the pattern.

Each of the things I have given up has been about FREEDOM for me, not restriction.  I’m not walking around feeling deprived.  As I’ve given each thing up to whatever degree I have, it has happened in a way that has made me freer to *not judge* as I *don’t do* than I ever could when I did. 

I get freer in my behaviors.  I get freer in not needing to judge others.

And somehow this makes others feel judged.

That’s an interesting conundrum.  I don’t know how to make it any better.  Other than my little tell-too-much blogs, I generally don’t go around broadcasting these things about the way i live, precisely BECAUSE I don’t want others to feel judged. 

No big lesson for tonight  Just Karen along the journey, noticing that some freedoms seem to be the OPPOSITE of contagious.

And wondering why that might be so. 

 

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Comments
  1. laurie says:

    Freedom is individual and uniquely delivered as I submit to Jesus – love this post. You are……well I love Your Savior, and You are His mouth piece for such a time as this – in my life, for quite some season now.

    • karen says:

      So glad it speaks to you, Laurie! Yes, I continue to be amazed at how often freedom is found in submission/obedience/discipline. Seems like logically the LEAST likely place of freedom, at first blush…

  2. This really spoke to me too – I’ve been eliminating some things in my life but certainly don’t judge anyone else for what they do. It’s what I need to do for ME – I have no right to tell them what THEY need to do and I won’t do that. But I agree with you – it leaves me in a conundrum sometimes as well.

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